Will Sports Betting Be Legal in CA in 2022?

Sports Betting Be Legal in CA in 2022

According to financial media company Bloomberg, the US sports gambling boom is a business gold rush whose rapid expansion seems to exceed everyone’s wildest expectations. Per projections from market survey firm Grand View Research, this industry should start bringing in annual revenues worth up to $140 billion in the next six years. While most laypeople credit growing digital infrastructure and widespread smartphone adoption for its sky-rocketing rise, most analysts agree that society and governments changing their perception regarding this pastime is what is fueling its growth.

In the US, the repeal of PASPA in 2018 opened the doors for US states to start regulating this activity as they see fit, and dozens of territories instantly jumped on this opportunity. Interest has been so widespread that this sector, which is still in its inception in North America, generated over $3.15 billion from January to October in 2021. That figure is impressive for an industry that is so young. However, a significantly more staggering statistic is that this number marks a 230% increase of the 2020 figure. The American Gaming Association contributes the dramatic boost to eleven more states allowing sports wagering to their residents in 2021.

Thus, all this gambling noise has left Californians to wonder when they will have a chance to lay down wagers with CA-based operators, online and at land-based venues. Currently, the list of sports betting sites available in CA is vast. Yet, these are offshore platforms that accept bettors from all corners of the globe. The Golden State is still working through its potential laws that should allow its residents to bet at online platforms or retail outlets that operate from within its borders.  

CA’s 2020 Sports Betting Ballot

Despite California being one of the most progressive states in the US, it does not have very liberating betting laws. In fact, they are stricter than most people would believe, which is a notion stemming from the state allowing card gambling so freely. It is home to some of the world’s most massive card rooms and has around sixty tribal casinos but does not allow Class II gaming machines and table games at commercial locales.

Only three times in the state’s history have Californians ratified constitutional amendments concerning gambling. In 1984, 1998, and 2000. That is a handy piece of info to have since it provides historical context for the upcoming November 2022 vote, which will decide if California will legalize wagering on college and professional sports at tribal casinos. The 2000 amendment put provisions in place that facilitate the opening of Native American casinos on California soil, and voters will now get a chance to expand these venues’ gambling arsenals.

Chris Grove, a partner at the consulting firm Eilers & Krejcik Gaming, projects that if California authorizes wagering on sports, its combined online and retail sectors will start pulling in more than $3 billion in revenues per year in their first few.

The Coalition to Authorize Regulated Sports Wagering, supported by multiple Indian tribes, has raised $12.48 million, hoping to push through the 2022 ballot measure through. Aside from sports gambling at Native American casinos and racetracks throughout California, if successful, the ballot also will legalize dice games like craps and Sic Bo at the mentioned establishments and allow patrons to enjoy roulette at these same spots. Though, tribal operators will have to implement specific operational changes before offering these products. Moreover, all tribal operators will have to enact a 10% tax on all profits deriving from sports betting.

What Are the Chances That the 2022 Ballot Will Succeed?

Most industry insiders believe that enough public and political support exists for sports betting to become a reality for Californians this year. Budget shortfalls along with the tax revenue windfalls this sector can produce bold well for a successful vote. According to its current outline, most of the money the government will gather from this activity will go into the state’s General Fund and the rest towards California’s programs for mental health and problem gambling prevention.

Undoubtedly, California is a far too lucrative market for this industry to ignore, and they are not any such thing. Most powerful brands are heavily lobbying to push new laws into existence, driven by analysts that believe that the total amount of bets made in the state could reach over $30 billion once this sector develops in California. Recent initiatives promising that generated tax revenues could also help the massive homeless population in CA, aided in the bill garnering even more public support. Many advocate caution, warning of the potential increases in gambling addiction rates if all forms of gambling become available in the state. No one can argue that this pastime carries multiple risk factors, such as financial and emotional harm to those that choose to indulge in it. That is why providing more financing to existing gambling addiction programs is essential.